What Does Chiron Retrograde Mean?

Chiron, the Wounded Healer
Chiron, the Wounded Healer

Our society as a whole seems to have learned just enough about Astrology at this point to fear retrograde periods…which might actually be worse than not being aware of them at all.

It’s not super-helpful to think of retrograde periods as being necessarily “bad.” Yes, depending on the specifics of a given retrograde interval, and also depending on the specifics of your own unique chart, then it could sometimes seem that things do go off the rails for you during retrograde times. Then again, if you were to keep a journal in dedicated fashion, you’d probably also find that plenty of things tend to go off the rails in your life even when no Planets at all are moving in retrograde fashion…

More helpful than adopting a viewpoint of “retrogrades = all bad, all the time,” it’s wise to always consider first which Planet it is that’s going retrograde…and then look at your own chart to see if you have any features in it that might be on the receiving end of that Planet’s shifting energies when the retrograde event happens.

But what does that mean in plain-speak, without all the Astro-jargon…?

Basically, the first part (“Which Planet is going retrograde?”) is saying that Mercury going retrograde, for example, won’t cause the same effects or ping the same themes that, say, Venus going retrograde will cause and ping. And the same holds true for Mars, and Jupiter, and Saturn, and on through the entire cast of planetary characters. Each Planet has its own unique set of functions, so you need to focus on which Planet is doing the retro-work in question.

And then the second part – the bit about looking at your own chart – means that a given retrograde event won’t generally affect any two people in quite the same way. Think of the Planet going retrograde as a transmitter, beaming out a signal. Now think of yourself and everyone else in the world as being receivers in the shapes of humans. Each of us is different, and we’ll each receive that Planet’s transmissions in slightly different ways. Some people will be reading the broadcast so loud and clear that it will hurt, while others will have to strain to hear it at all.

So what happens when the Planet going retrograde is that interesting Planetoid, Chiron? This is a pretty good question to be asking right about now, as Chiron is set to station retrograde this coming Saturday (July 1, 2017)…

We need to start off by focusing on what makes Chiron a unique force… Chiron the Planetoid is named for a figure from out of classical mythology who was known as “the Wounded Healer.” Chiron was an immortal centaur (= half-humanoid/half-horse) who was scratched with an arrow that happened to have been coated with the blood of the Hydra, one of the most fearsome monsters ever to slither across the ancient Greek landscape. Being an immortal, Chiron couldn’t die, but the Hydra’s blood was so toxic, that he couldn’t metabolize it out of his system, either. He couldn’t heal from the wound. Chiron was therefore trapped in this horrible state of perpetual agony.

Rod of Asclepius
This is the Rod of Asclepius, a symbol associated with healing in our society. Asclepius was one of Chiron’s students – he became the greatest mortal healer of his day, in part due to the wise teachings of Chiron…

When his own already impressive medical knowledge failed to offer up a cure, Chiron traveled the world, looking into more and more exotic possible remedies. Nothing helped, but he did at least pick up so much new healing knowledge and skill that he became one of the greatest healers of all time.

Perpetually wounded + medical wizard = “The Wounded Healer”

In our birth charts, then, Chiron points out an area where we bear some sort of deep-rooted “soul-wound,” some trauma or condition that causes us ongoing pain in our lives until we can hopefully learn to heal it. This can be an actual physical condition, or something less tangible (a spiritual, emotional, or mental “wound”). The good news is that our experiences with our own Chironic wounds can allow us to become great healers of the same kind of wounds in others.

All of which is the backstory… Let’s jump now to this Saturday, when Chiron up in the sky will suddenly look to us here on Earth as if it will be stopping in its tracks, and then moving backwards in the sky. This is just an optical illusion caused by the realities of us observing Chiron from a different body in space that’s moving at a very different speed than Chiron is…but in Astrology, this kind of event carries an important meaning.

The gist of it is that whereas Planetary energies are generally beaming themselves all around us in the external world, when a Planet goes retrograde, its energies will then seem to manifest more within our inner worlds. This Chiron retrograde period will therefore be a five-month window of opportunity during which we can possibly make great strides in recognizing and even healing our own deepest soul-wounds.

The Healing Touch
“The Healing Touch” by Tim Holmes – Chiron retrograde periods are terrific times for manifesting some real healing in our lives…

Your best bet will be – as always! – to start by analyzing the Chiron situation in your own birth chart. What Sign and what House does your natal Chiron reside in? The Sign will give you some clues about the nature of your intrinsic wounds, while the House will flag some area of your life in which those wounds will most often and most intensely be felt.

Next, examine any Aspects that connect your natal Chiron to any other Planets in your chart. Squares and oppositions will be especially useful in understanding more about the characteristics of your wounds, and grasping what might cause you to keep aggravating them all over again. Meanwhile, the more harmonious trines and sextiles will be more likely to suggest ways in which you might soothe and even heal those wounds.

After you’ve put in some time analyzing your own natal Chiron, take a look at where the actual Chiron Planetoid is in the sky right now – the very final stretch of Pisces – and see if you have any important Planets or Points in that same area in your own birth chart. If so, you may be especially inclined to feel the Chironic energy-waves during this five-month period. You might also want to examine the corresponding sections within the other Mutable Signs (Gemini, Virgo, and Sagittarius) in your chart, and the same thing will hold true: if you have any important placements in the last few degrees of any of those Signs, this retrograde period may be an eventful one for you.

Chiron will remain in this retrograde state until December 5th, when it stations direct (“goes back to normal”), so you have five months during which you can hopefully tune in and really gain insight with respect to your deepest, most longstanding sources of spiritual pain. Chironic healing is a tremendous gift when it comes, so it might be terrific policy to encourage it during this retrograde interval.

Gentle and versatile healing and other holistic practices will be especially helpful at this time: Reiki, meditation, and yoga are a few examples of some modalities you might consider. You can also make use of any techniques that can be keyed more precisely into your own specific Chironic situation.

Try viewing this period not as a time for wallowing in self-pity about your wounds, but as a positive opportunity to bring about some deep and profound healing…

11 thoughts on “What Does Chiron Retrograde Mean?

  1. Thanks for the info. currently going through my Chiron return transiting Chiron is 15′ from my Natal…..will use Reiki to help me out……it’s been an interesting time have learned quite a bit and using this time to cleanse and clear up old patterns to make things easier for my Saturn return 🙂

    1. Hi, and thanks for the comments! I, too, am in the middle of my first Chiron Return (and who knows, I may see my second one down the line…optimism!). Reiki is really helpful and empowering, I find, and I think that your plan to actively take part in clearing and cleansing is fantastic policy. Good luck to both of us with addressing our Chironic wounded-ness!

      1. Thanks for your reply 🙂 I was somewhat forced by this transit to seriously and humorously look at my issues. From reading your site it goes without saying you are also on a path to awakening.
        However lazy I am it’s times like this alignment that really makes me focus on my ‘crap’. Melanie Reinhart’s book is good as you know and some of Joyce Mason’s work (The Radical Virgo). When one goes searching for the Chiron return on the net there does not seem to be that much so I appreciated your article. Here’s to your second Chiron return! The very best with you on this one and when we come out of it maybe we can compare notes. Reiki on brother.

      2. You know, I don’t actually have Melanie Reinhart’s book on Chiron, although I know of it (I think I once looked for it on Amazon, and it was priced like a rare antique, so I decided to wait…which I am apparently still doing…). I do have Barbara Hand Clow’s Chiron book, which this conversation reminded me to go pull off the shelf, so thank you for that! To be honest – and I’m knocking on wood as I say this – my Chiron Return has so far not been very traumatic. It’s involved a lot of releasing of attachments, but I’m also a very Twelfth House person, and I think this kind of releasing is also a very H12 type of business anyway. But maybe one of us should write a “Chiron Return Travelogue” as we navigate this interesting period… 😉 And thanks for the kind words about sensing my journey toward awakening!

      1. I’d suggest running a transits chart on a free site like Astro.com. Notice where the placements are in your birth chart by degree, and then see if the transiting Planets are making fairly precise contacts with them. For example, if your natal Mars is at 25 degrees Cancer, then the transiting Sun (now between 9 and 10 degrees Cancer) won’t be lighting it up until almost two weeks from now. Transiting Chiron is at about 29 degrees of Pisces, so unless your Cancer placements fall pretty late in that Sign, you may not feel all that much serious Chironic effects. There’s a free app called Time Passages that you can put on your phone, and it can help with basic interpretations of current transits (I can’t remember if you have to pay a buck or two for that function, but even if so, that’s still pretty cheap, and it’s helpful).

  2. Waki

    Thank you for the post. I am born with Chiron at 27 of Pisces (now progressing at 29 Pisces). This current cycle is thus part of my Chiron return too –which, for us, lasts for 3+ years as Chiron goes direct and retrograde several times in this area of the Zodiac. Yes, it’s a very great opportunity for deep healing put it’s such a very big pain, wounds constantly reopening even after wonderful improvement and healing… I was also born with Mars at 23 Pisces and Neptune (ruler of Chiron and Mars in Pisces) rising in Scorpio, and trine Chiron (and Mars). Maybe you too? Right now Neptune is transiting (station retro) exactly right on my FC to add more intensity, confusion (and hopefully some depth, eventually?) to the cycle. I am trying to concentrate as much as I can on healing (the only way not to feel helplessly doomed) but life keeps bringing in waves and tsunamis of triggers (not gentle ones, natal Uranus is opposite to natal Chiron, slapping and bringing electroshock into the wounds). And Chiron and Neptune slow movement tell it’s not going to end very soon…! I really wonder how you manage to find any humour in this. Do you have a good Jupiter? I don’t. + I guess having this configuration in my angular houses makes it for me a rather challenging story.

    1. Hi, Waki — thanks for the great comments, and apologies for my slow reply… I’m sorry to hear that your Chiron Return is proving so challenging. So far, mine has been less intense and demanding than I was expecting it to be (knocking on wood as I type this…), but I don’t have all of the Aspects in my chart that you have in yours. Most of them sound similar, but Mars isn’t in my configuration. Briefly, I have Saturn conjunct my Chiron in Pisces (both Rx), and Uranus and Pluto are in a conjunction opposite them in Virgo. Meanwhile, I, too, have Neptune Rising in Scorpio, along with a host of other Planets in that Sign…so transiting Chiron has been making user-friendly trine connections for me for some time now. I’m not sure I’d say that I have a “good” Jupiter, necessarily: it’s in my H9, where it likes to be, but it’s square a Sun/Venus conjunction. Aside from that, it doesn’t make any significant Aspects, and I have no placements in Sagittarius, so it can seem a bit isolated. I have to guess that the big difference here is the fact that you have Mars beaming that martial energy into your Chiron contacts, while I don’t…? At any rate, I wish you a happy turnaround from the woundedness end of the spectrum toward the healing side!

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